As Rev 15 begins, John sees “seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.” These angels are given “seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever.” The seven plagues are the final and full expression of His judgment against the forces of evil climaxing in the second coming of Jesus. This chapter marks the close of probation, after which “the wine of God’s fury” will be poured out on the wicked unmixed with mercy (see 14:10).
People have always struggled to process the concept of the wrath of God. Unable to deny the biblical teaching of a God who responds to evil with wrath, some try to redefine it as being mere natural consequence or, at most, the withdrawal of God’s protecting hand. But we cannot get away from the very clear expressions that indicate that His wrath is His divine act of righteous judgment upon evil and its perpetrators. God’s judgments are very real and fully justified.
For this reason, the spotlight moves momentarily to those who will eventually be victorious over the beast, his image and his mark. They sing a song acknowledging the rightness of God’s judgments in the last plagues: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages.” After all, would we not expect a holy God to respond with justice to the terribly destructive nature of evil?
Bear in mind, however, that the hand that directs the outpouring of the plagues was first nailed to a cross for those very sins now being judged and punished. There on Calvary it was demonstrated that the God who is fully just is also fully merciful. In this final act of justice, no one could ever raise a question mark over His mercy. The song’s second stanza says, “Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” Both justice and mercy bring glory to His name; both are equally displayed in His righteous acts; both reveal Him to be holy. Justice and mercy are perfectly integrated in His divine nature.
Let us, the saved from all nations, join together to worship before Him.
Greater Sydney Conference